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Ban on International Passenger Flights Extended Till June 30, Travel to Continue Under Air Bubbles

Passengers wait for their flights inside the new West Gates at Tom Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles International Airport Monday, May 24, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo)

Passengers wait for their flights inside the new West Gates at Tom Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles International Airport Monday, May 24, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo)

Scheduled commercial international passenger flights have been suspended in India since March 23, 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The coronavirus-induced suspension of scheduled international passenger flights has been extended till June 30, Indian aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said on Friday. DGCA modified its previous order issued on June 26, 2020 extending the partial ban on the commercial flights. “However, international scheduled flights may be allowed on selected routes by the competent authority on a case-to-case basis," the DGCA added.

Scheduled international passenger services have been suspended in India since March 23, 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But special international flights have been operating under the Vande Bharat Mission since May and under bilateral “air bubble" arrangements with selected countries since July.

India has formed air bubble pacts with 27 countries, including the US, the UK, the UAE, Kenya, Bhutan and France. Under an air bubble pact between two countries, special international flights can be operated by their airlines between their territories.

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However, given the rise of cases during the second wave of COVID-19, many countries have banned flights from India under Air Bubble pact till situation improves. The DGCA circular also said that the suspension does not affect the operation of international all-cargo operations and flights specifically approved by it.

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first published:May 28, 2021, 14:42 IST